Valve's Gabe Newell likes Linux. A lot. In spite of the operating system representing less-than-one percent share by every metric used by Valve, Newell believes that Linux will play a large role in the future of PC gaming--so much so that his company is invested in making a Linux-based Steambox. In addition to releasing games on the OS, Valve is showing their support of Linux by contributing to the LLDB debugger project, because developers frequently cite the need for a debugger to make Linux a better development platform.
Newell still believes Windows 8 is a catastrophe, pointing out that PC sales have experienced year-over-year declines. However, Steam sales have increased 76 percent--suggesting Valve is doing something right.
Valve brought Steam to Linux in February, and the platform now has 198 games. Newell has previously promised to unveil a Linux-based "Steam box" to compete against living room gaming consoles sometime this year, and his company has updated the Steam software to work better on TVs. While he didn't specifically mention the Steam box today, Newell hinted at an announcement next week.
"Next week we're going to be rolling out more information about how we get there and what are the hardware opportunities we see for bringing Linux into the living room," Newell said.
Getting games to work on Linux has its challenges. If not implemented right, "Just compile it yourself" could be the inconvenient solution to the problem of installing games and applying updates, he said. However, Valve worked through these problems in bringing Left 4 Dead 2 to Linux, hopefully showing the way to other developers, he said.
Bringing Steam to Linux "was a signal for our development partners that we really were serious about this Linux thing we were talking about," Newell said.